With the likes of Harvey Weinstein turning his eye (and funds) online, there has been a noticeable change in the coverage of the web series. Industry websites have gone from ‘Is this the destroyer of Broadcast TV?’ to interviews with creators and tips for producing and promoting.
In the years since the rise of big name web series like Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog following the 2007 writer’s strike, when writers wanted to keep working on professional, quality productions while still supporting the unions, the medium has become legitimate platform for creators of original pieces to both showcase their talent and engage with their audience. It is this sense of community that sets the medium apart from the more traditional options.
This willingness of the audience to venture outside television shows that it is the quality of the programming that matters most to the audience and not the medium it is shown on. This is where accessibility becomes central to online programming. It needs to be as accessible, if not more so, than television and film. Web series largely rely on word of mouth. You’re not going to stumble upon shows by flicking around. The most well known web series have big names associated with them while other smaller channels and filmmakers may struggle to get those views and exposure. But even if a channel doesn’t reach a high volume of people, the instant feedback, a sense of immediacy and indeed intimacy that can achieved online can be just as important to the maintenance and future of the series. Like the premium cable channels, it can be more about the quality of the audience you are reaching than the quantity when it comes to the likelihood of survival.
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